CHECKLISTS

Timothy and Titus – Inconspicuous Leadership

1 Timothy 5 checklistI am a list maker…even in retirement from my secular work. For me, what doesn’t get listed, doesn’t get done. It is also very rewarding for me to check that item off the list when it is accomplished. The list has a progression of priorities. One task cannot happen until another task is completed. And so life goes with my lists guiding my behavior and productivity.

As I journal each morning in my conversational prayer with God, the Father, His Spirit guides me to make another list that helps me to mature and grow in Him. I am convicted of some of those “fruits of the Spirit” that I have not tended to or cultivated, have ignored or left undone. His Holy Spirit redirects my thoughts and helps me form a list of tasks that will help me improve my behavior. “Keep a close check on yourself”, writes Paul to Timothy. For me, that means to make a spiritual checklist that keeps me in close contact with the will and purpose of our Father, God and helps me to grow closer to Him.

We can do nothing of significance without God. I am convinced that He guides us to all things that are good for our growth and aid our learning about Him and how He works. Paul also gives Timothy sound advice about how to treat those whom God has called to lead with character traits with another list of how to lead. This list still applies to us today. The theme of this episode seems to be; Know God, Know Yourself, Know The Message, Know Your Audience. Our deeds, good and bad, will be evident. Be driven by God’s love in us.

1 Timothy 5, The Message

17-18 Give a bonus to leaders who do a good job, especially the ones who work hard at preaching and teaching. Scripture tells us, “Don’t muzzle a working ox” and “A worker deserves his pay.”

19 Don’t listen to a complaint against a leader that isn’t backed up by two or three responsible witnesses.

20 If anyone falls into sin, call that person on the carpet. Those who are inclined that way will know right off they can’t get by with it.

21-23 God and Jesus and angels all back me up in these instructions. Carry them out without favoritism, without taking sides. Don’t appoint people to church leadership positions too hastily. If a person is involved in some serious sins, you don’t want to become an unwitting accomplice. In any event, keep a close check on yourself. And don’t worry too much about what the critics will say. Go ahead and drink a little wine, for instance; it’s good for your digestion, good medicine for what ails you.

24-25 The sins of some people are blatant and march them right into court. The sins of others don’t show up until much later. The same with good deeds. Some you see right off, but none are hidden forever.

1 Timothy 5 check yourselfLEADERSHIP PRINCIPLE #6: Keep a Close Check on Yourself

Leadership Characteristics –

–Fully rely on God. Trust Him with all you are and all you have. We are His. All we have is His.
–Ask God “if there is anything offensive to you, cleanse me.” as the Psalmist prayed.
–Repent with a heart and mind not wanting to return to the old life.
–Look full into the face of Jesus, our Master, Lord and Savior with laser focus so we know what direction to take next.
–“Keep a close check on yourself.” Avoid, “he did it, I can, too” or “my sin is not as bad as his sin” or “everybody’s doing it” mentality.
–Ask God for wisdom, insight and understanding.
–Allow God’s transformation to continue in our lives.
–Ask God to make your lists of to BE and to DO. HE will prioritize your lists in ways you cannot imagine! Where He guides, He provides help all along the journey.
–Do all in a Spirit of love for God and others.
–Care enough to confront others with God’s love and concern for their spiritual well-being and growth.

Warning   The things on our spiritual check list can never be crossed off because we’ll be working on them our whole lives. By listing we are reminding ourselves of what we need to work on to “keep a close check” on our lives. It is only by The Atonement of Jesus Christ can we accomplish anything of eternal significance.

Dear Heavenly Father,
You have convinced me that we must do spiritual “business” with You each day to improve our being in You. Thank you for helping us on this journey. Thank you for Your Holy Spirit that points out things in our behavior that could cause us to crash…before crashing. Thank you for always being with us, guiding and directing, loving and protecting and challenging us to grow and bear Fruit. Continue to transform me. Transform your church. Transform the world through your church.
In Jesus Name, Amen

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TAKING A STROLL

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
Psalm 56 walking with God
With each day comes new challenges to adjust our thinking so that circumstances and what others say about us do not mar our relationship with who we really are in God’s eyes. Begin, the minute you wake up, and conscience, with greeting our Father, God. BE with God first. BE still before Him. BE ready to listen to Him before listening to others. This alone is worship to God. It gives Him first place in our hearts and minds. This act shows Him how much we believe HIM over any comment or action anyone else in our world will say or do. It is also a time to lay our “to do lists” before Him to see what He wants.
 
I know this is hard with kids to wake up and get going for school. I know it is hard if you have to be at work along with the task of getting kids and spouses to their places. I know it is hard to put God first over all the details of life, but it is so necessary for your spiritual and mental health. (My best place in those days with kids and getting ready for work was in my shower!)
 
Without this first talk with God, it is even more difficult to run from place to place running on your own steam, without a plan of defense against circumstances that will be out of your control, against harsh words of a boss or co worker, against comments of “frienemies” who you must relate with daily but will talk about you the minute your back is turned…as if you didn’t know. Right? Take a stroll with God in your mind first. He will provide the armor you will need against the real enemy, Satan. Yes, he is real.
 
Psalm 56 amazedWHAT is that word from God that He will say first to you? “You’re my child and I love you no matter what!” Isn’t that crazy! God begins with WHO we are, not what He wants from us. GOD LOVES US! WE BELONG TO HIM! How cool and encouraging is that? That, alone, is one of our strongest defenses against whatever will be thrown at us in this life…for today. That’s what “daily manna” is all about. Seriously, we can only handle one day at a time, right?
 
So, we go before Him, walk leisurely with him, talk with him in our minds and then take time to listen for His best along with His peace for the day ahead. He will pack the backpacks of our minds, so to speak, with all He knows we will need for today’s journey. Yes, He will! I want that, don’t you?
 
Psalm 56, The Message
A David Psalm, When He Was Captured by the Philistines in Gath
 
1-4 Take my side, God—I’m getting kicked around,
stomped on every day.
Not a day goes by
but somebody beats me up;
They make it their duty
to beat me up.
Psalm 56 God keeps meWhen I get really afraid
I come to you in trust.
I’m proud to praise God;
fearless now, I trust in God.
What can mere mortals do?
 
5-6 They don’t let up—
they smear my reputation
and huddle to plot my collapse.
They gang up,
sneak together through the alleys
To take me by surprise,
wait their chance to get me.
 
7 Pay them back in evil!
Get angry, God!
Down with these people!
 
Psalm 56 tears kept.jpg8 You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn
through the sleepless nights,
Each tear entered in your ledger,
each ache written in your book.
 
9 If my enemies run away,
turn tail when I yell at them,
Then I’ll know
that God is on my side.
Psalm 56 edge
10-11 I’m proud to praise God,

 

proud to praise God.
Fearless now, I trust in God;
what can mere mortals do to me?
 
12-13 God, you did everything you promised,
and I’m thanking you with all my heart.
You pulled me from the brink of death,
my feet from the cliff-edge of doom.
Now I stroll at leisure with God
in the sunlit fields of life.
 
Psalm 56 trust
SOMETHING TO CHEW…
David’s prayer reminds us of God’s care for us in and through whatever we are going through today:
 
“God is on my side.”
“I’m proud to praise God.”
“Fearless now, I trust in God; what can mere mortals do to me?”
“God, you did everything you promised and I’m thanking you with all my heart.”
“You pulled me from the brink of death, my feet from the cliff-edge of doom.” (Negative thoughts perpetrated, promoted and perpetuated by our real enemy, Satan.)
“Now I stroll at leisure with God in the sunlit fields of life.” (Our negative, worldview thinking now turns to more Godly thinking which is our first line of defense, our shield of faith, our way of being walking worshipers with all that is in us.)
 
HEART CHECK:
 
Wow. I’m thinking now of an old hymn that tells the benefits of “taking a stroll at leisure with God…” Maybe you know it and will sing it with me.
 
I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The son of God discloses.
 
And he walks with me and he talks with me
And he tells me I am his own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known.
 
He speaks and the sound of his voice is so sweet
The birds hush their singing
And the melody that he gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.
 
And he walks with me and he talks with me
And he tells me I am his own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known.
 
I’d stay in the garden with him
Though the night around me is falling
But He bids me go through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling…
 
Psalm 56 God is for me
SO, grab your mug each morning and have breakfast with the Savior. This is time well spent and could save your life from the ugly that the world has to offer and is more than ready to give. BE the difference the world needs to see but first do what God says:
 
BE still and know that I am God.
BE still and know.
BE still.
BE.
 
Dear Heavenly Father,
It is good to walk with you and talk with you, knowing without doubt that You are listening, loving and ready to provide all we will need for this day. Thank you, Lord. You’re promise to be with us always still stands. Your promises haven’t changed. Your love hasn’t changed. That alone will get me through this day. I am who you say I am. I’m a child of God, YES I AM! Thank you, Lord! I’m ready for this day with YOU in the lead! Let’s go!
In Jesus Name, Amen
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TRUST GOD

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
When betrayed on earth by a good friend (or friends), it hurts to the core of your being. When what you thought was a great and loving relationship turns sour it is devastating to our hearts and souls. David tells God all about it…honestly.
 
Psalm 55, The Message
A David Psalm
Psalm 55 he hears me.jpg1-3 Open your ears, God, to my prayer;
don’t pretend you don’t hear me knocking.
Come close and whisper your answer.
I really need you.
I shudder at the mean voice,
quail before the evil eye,
As they pile on the guilt,
stockpile angry slander.
 
4-8 My insides are turned inside out;
specters of death have me down.
I shake with fear,
I shudder from head to foot.
“Who will give me wings,” I ask—
“wings like a dove?”
Get me out of here on dove wings;
I want some peace and quiet.
I want a walk in the country,
I want a cabin in the woods.
I’m desperate for a change
from rage and stormy weather.
 
Psalm 55 pray9-11 Come down hard, Lord—slit their tongues.
I’m appalled how they’ve split the city
Into rival gangs
prowling the alleys
Day and night spoiling for a fight,
trash piled in the streets,
Even shopkeepers gouging and cheating
in broad daylight.
 
12-14 This isn’t the neighborhood bully
mocking me—I could take that.
This isn’t a foreign devil spitting
invective—I could tune that out.
It’s you! We grew up together!
You! My best friend!
Those long hours of leisure as we walked
arm in arm, God a third party to our conversation.
 
15 Haul my betrayers off alive to hell—let them
experience the horror, let them
feel every desolate detail of a damned life.
 
Psalm 55 trust God16-19 I call to God;
God will help me.
At dusk, dawn, and noon I sigh
deep sighs—he hears, he rescues.
My life is well and whole, secure
in the middle of danger
Even while thousands
are lined up against me.
God hears it all, and from his judge’s bench
puts them in their place.
But, set in their ways, they won’t change;
they pay him no mind.
 
20-21 And this, my best friend, betrayed his best friends;
his life betrayed his word.
All my life I’ve been charmed by his speech,
never dreaming he’d turn on me.
His words, which were music to my ears,
turned to daggers in my heart.
 
22-23 Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders—
he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out.
He’ll never let good people
topple into ruin.
But you, God, will throw the others
into a muddy bog,
Cut the lifespan of assassins
and traitors in half.
 
And I trust in you.
 
SOMETHING TO CHEW…
The Psalmist wants to run away from it all. We have all had those feelings from time to time, right? But instead of giving into the short term feelings of running away, he runs to God. He cries out to God. He trusts God who he knows is forever and will never leave him.
 
Let that soak in. Take all the time you need. No need to leave town. Take a short journey right into the arms of God who will comfort you and restore you.
 
Trust God. He loves us more than we can imagine.
 
HEART CHECK:
 
“Pile your troubles on God’s shoulders—
he’ll carry your load, he’ll help you out.
He’ll never let good people
topple into ruin.”
 
Who is the first person you turn to when hurt by relationships that collapse under pressure?
 
Do they point you to God?
 
Do you point others who are hurt and betrayed to God?
 
Only God can satisfy and heal our broken hearts and restore us to full throttle living again.
 
Psalm 55 trust you
Dear Heavenly Father,
You are God. There is no one like you. Forgive us when we run to others to seek solace when You are the One and Only who completely satisfies our longing for love that is constant. You are the One and Only who completely heals our broken hearts and pumps new life back into our deflated souls. Yes, all my trust is in You. You even bless us with friends of Yours who know and love You to love on us! Wow! You’re a good, good Father, yes You are!
In Jesus Name, Amen
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YOU GOT ME OUT!

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
At times, we all know the feeling of being in a work situation that is extremely overwhelming. It becomes more challenging because you feel stuck and can’t move because you need the paycheck to pay your bills, but it wears on your very being. You see things in coworkers you don’t want to see. My particular situation included working with liars. They lied to the people who knew and trusted them. They lied about the work they were doing and not doing. They lied to me.
 
They even lied to each other! It was a very dysfunctional staff of people. Their tenacious goal was to gain a piece of disreputable information on others so they could hold it over each person in an effort to control them. They could then have power over the individual. Or so they thought. Someone needed to sound the alarm that this was not right. Someone did. And I was let go from the work God had given me to do there.
 
Psalm 54 God is my healer
“You don’t fit here” where the only words used because they had nothing else on me. I was too busy doing the work! I felt, at times, I was working behind enemy lines. My immediate thought, even though there would be no paychecks in the Callaway household for awhile was, “PRAISE GOD, I don’t fit!!” I left five minutes later with a huge load lifted from my shoulders and a smile on my face. As I drove home to tell my husband, I was happy, joyful even, thanking God with “God, you got me out!” I don’t know what we will do next, but for some reason I’m not worried about it. “YOU GOT ME OUT” of enemy territory. You got me out of dodging lies while trying to work to do what You told me to do.
 
Psalm 54 Gods got thisWhen I got home I told Randy the news. He was just as glad as I was for he was seeing my physical health affected. He felt the stress I was carrying. Married couples do that. They feel together. We cried happy tears. We had no clue what was going to happen next but we knew for sure God was in control and would take care of us.
 
God got us out and indeed took care of us in so many ways that there is not enough space on this blog to tell it all. That was many years ago. But it was a turning point in our faith, our life of serving God and in our love for how God works no matter what.
 
Believe in the God who created us. Believe in what He does in us when we are troubled and in a seemingly impossible situation. Wait for Him to defeat the foe. He will. He teaches us and help us to grow in the middle of it all. He comforts us when the pain of that growth seems overwhelming. He provides exactly what we need before we know we will need it. God is great and greatly to be praised!
 
Psalm 54, The Message
A David Psalm, When the Ziphites Reported to Saul,
“David Is Hiding Out with Us”
 
psalm-54-god-will-take-you-through-it.jpg1-2 God, for your sake, help me!
Use your influence to clear me.
Listen, God—I’m desperate.
Don’t be too busy to hear me.
 
3 Outlaws are out to get me,
hit men are trying to kill me.
Nothing will stop them;
God means nothing to them.
 
Psalm 54 God is my help
4-5 Oh, look! God’s right here helping!
God’s on my side,
Evil is looping back on my enemies.
Don’t let up! Finish them off!
 
6-7 I’m ready now to worship, so ready.
I thank you, God—you’re so good.
You got me out of every scrape,
and I saw my enemies get it.
 
HEART CHECK:
God got David out. God got me out. He will get you out!
 
Trust in God’s will and plan. Trust in our God who will not let the enemy overcome us. Know your enemy. Our war is not with flesh and blood humans but with the evil one who has wanted to be God since creation. The enemy works hard to work through humans for the sole purpose of destroying them and the work God has given them to do.
 
How do we know the difference between evil and what is right? If the work that is being done is guided by secrets, lies, gossip and manipulations it is not in keeping with God’s Word. When you’ve done all you can to battle the foe with God, RUN from it when He finally gets you out. Don’t linger. Don’t return. Let God take care of the enemy.
 
Psalm 54 God is God
“Oh, look! God’s right here helping!”
 
“I’m ready now to worship, so ready.
I thank you, God–you’re so good.
You got me out…”
 
Dear Heavenly Father,
You are indeed a good, good Father. You got me out when the battle got to be too much for me. You got me out at just the right time. You provide where you guide. You help us in the battle and after the battle is over for us. You are God and we are not. You are merciful and full of grace. You are my Lord and Savior. I love you with all my heart, mind and soul! I will follow You all the days of my life!
In Jesus Name, Amen
 
And I’m singing to God…
 
I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think you’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whispers of love in the dead of night
And you tell me that you’re pleased
And that I’m never alone
 
You’re a good good father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am
 
I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we’re all searching
For answers only you provide
‘Cause you know just what we need
Before we say a word
 
You’re a good good father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am
 
Because you are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us…
(By Chris Tomlin, Good, Good Father)
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IS THERE ANYONE? ANYONE?

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
Randy taught me how to go camping. In our very early years of marriage, with a three month old, we went camping. We bought a tent with our hard earned cash. We took more than we needed because it was my first time. With a baby in tow, most of our packing included supplies for an infant. It was comical, now that I look back. But the thing that I remember most was what Randy was taught by his dad when camping. “Leave the place better than the way you found it.” We cleaned and and even swept so that the next family of campers would have a clean place to settle for their memorable trip.
 
Psalm 53 anyone who lovesI woke up this morning thinking about how, over the past forty seven years of marriage, we tried to do life with that mantra. Randy was pastor of three “turn-around” churches at different times over the course of 25 years. I watched him lead with the same thought…”we must leave this place better than the way we found it.” We all worked hard, listening for God’s leading to be better stewards of life, to be better followers who lead others to find and follow Jesus and to ultimately leave people better than the way we found them, encouraging others to keep growing from the inside out.
 
Humans. We were all created in the image of God. Some of those images have been messed up by the world, trampled on and broken. Because this, they are determined to hurt others because of the overwhelming hurt they have experienced. Or they learn from the hurt and help others. Mm.
 
Something else also occurred to me this morning. Do we leave people better than the way we found them? Consider all the past conversations we have had over the past few days. Now, think about it, did we leave those people, who were also, like you, created in God’s image, better than they way we found them? Did we leave them with the impression of the glory of God in us? Did they notice that Christ is living in us? Did they see the image of God revealed in our behavior?
 
OR did we, like most of the world centered on self and self image throw up all over them with problems that are not their problems, criticize them, give them what I call left handed compliments, present ourselves as better than they are, and worst yet, gossip about others who you think have more problems than you? Prayer requests that turn into gossip are not prayers God hears.
 
We have two choices. We either add to the lives of others or we suck life from them. Do we leave people better than they way we found them?
 
Psalm 53, The Message
A David Psalm (David, tell us how you really feel. Wow.)
 
Psalm 53 11-2 Bilious and bloated, they gas,
“God is gone.”
It’s poison gas—
they foul themselves, they poison
Rivers and skies;
thistles are their cash crop.
Psalm 53 God looks downGod sticks his head out of heaven.
He looks around.
He’s looking for someone not stupid—
one man, even, God-expectant,
just one God-ready woman.
 
3 He comes up empty. A string
of zeros. Useless, unshepherded
Sheep, taking turns pretending
to be Shepherd.
The ninety and nine
follow the one.
 
Psalm 53 stupid4 Don’t they know anything,
all these impostors?
Don’t they know
they can’t get away with this,
Treating people like a fast-food meal
over which they’re too busy to pray?
 
5 Night is coming for them, and nightmare—
a nightmare they’ll never wake up from.
God will make hash of these squatters,
send them packing for good.
 
6 Is there anyone around to save Israel?
God turns life around.
Turned-around Jacob skips rope,
turned-around Israel sings laughter.
 
SOMETHING TO CHEW…
Psalm 53 anyoneDavid was appalled at all the blowhards, show offs, gossipers, and God haters of his day. He gives us descriptor words of humans who suck the life from those trying to know God, believe in what He says, trust in Him and follow Him no matter what.
 
His question at the end of his tirade is this, “Is there anyone around to save us? The answer: “God turns life around.” We can join Him in his work by first loving Him with all that is in us, then love others the way HE loves us.
 
Another haunting thought is found in this passage that stops us and provokes us to think about how God is looking around for someone whose heart is fully his.
 
“God sticks his head out of heaven. He looks around. He’s looking for someone not stupid–one man, even, God-expectant, just one God-ready woman.”
 
(Also in 2 Chronicles 16:9: “The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. What a fool you have been! From now on you will be at war.”)
 
Heart Check:
 
Psalm 53 God callsAre we willing and committed to leaving others better than the way we found them?
 
Are we willing and committed to “turn around” and be all that God intended for those created in His image to be?
 
These thoughts bring me to tears this morning. If it breaks my heart when humans degrade and suck the life from each other, then what does God think?
 
God save us! THIS is a prayer is answers.
 
Psalm 53 seek God
Dear Heavenly Father,
We repent of self. We repent of seeking satisfaction from things that will not last. We repent of using people to get what we think we want out of life here. We repent of allowing our hurt to hurt others who are unaware of the hurt in us. We repent of taking life instead of encouraging more life in others. You have given us the right way to think and how to behave. You didn’t make it hard. What is hard is to get self out of the way. Turn us around. Transform our thinking and behaving. Help us to sweeten the day of others, making their lives better for being with them than they were before. You have done that for us. We are committed to following your example.
In Jesus Name, Amen
 
Mm, tears are gone and now I’m singing an old chorus from my youth…
 
Every day with Jesus
Is sweeter than the day before
Every day with Jesus
I love Him more and more.
Jesus saves and keeps me
And He’s the one I’m waiting for
Every day with Jesus
Is sweeter than the day before
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UNDER GOD

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
We are past another election of officials who will speak for us because of our vote…or at least that is what we hope will happen. We pray that we will come together, “one nation, under God” and ask what God wants. Some will rely on the wisdom of God, others will go their own way, seeking more power. But, we are still one nation, under God as we pledge in our allegiance to our country.
 
Psalm 52 one nationBut there is a greater, higher allegiance we have to God, the Creator, the One and Only who is above all and in all. We are under His protection, living in the shadow of His wing. We are under His Hand of grace, mercy and blessing. We are under His authority. We are under His will and purpose for our lives. He is God and we are not.
 
We are UNDER GOD but sometimes we don’t show it in our behavior. God gives us success in the work HE invited us to join Him in and suddenly we think we are in control. When things start to fall apart we blame Him, complain to others, blame each other and then gossip until the work is destroyed all because we forgot that we are under God. No matter how high we climb, we will always be under God.
 
David knew where he stood with God. He was under God’s authority. He knew all the reasons why we should not cross God, go our own haughty ways or try to control God. What are we thinking? We are not thinking.
 
Psalm 52, The Message
A David Psalm, When Doeg the Edomite Reported to Saul, “David’s at Ahimelech’s House”
 
Psalm 52 9 praise God1-4 Why do you brag of evil, “Big Man”?
God’s mercy carries the day.
You scheme catastrophe;
your tongue cuts razor-sharp,
artisan in lies.
You love evil more than good,
you call black white.
You love malicious gossip,
you foul-mouth.
 
5 God will tear you limb from limb,
sweep you up and throw you out,
Pull you up by the roots
from the land of life.
 
6-7 Good people will watch and
worship. They’ll laugh in relief:
“Big Man bet on the wrong horse,
trusted in big money,
made his living from catastrophe.”
 
Psalm 52 Gods love8 And I’m an olive tree,
growing green in God’s house.
I trusted in the generous mercy
of God then and now.
 
9 I thank you always
that you went into action.
And I’ll stay right here,
your good name my hope,
in company with your faithful friends.
 
SOMETHING TO CHEW…
 
We read three things going on with this anxious prayer of David about those who are not living “under God”. These three highly contrasting themes are honestly evaluated.
 
1. The Sinners Are Boasting (vv. 1-4). The phrase “mighty man” is the equivalent of our “big shot” and was spoken derisively. Doeg and Saul were mighty in their own eyes but insignificant in God’s eyes; David was insignificant in their eyes but important to God. David depended on the mercy of the Lord (vv. 1, 8), while Saul and his men depended on themselves and their own resources.
 
2. The Saints Are Laughing (vv. 5-7). Verse 5 is the central verse of the psalm and marks the turning point in David’s experience as he contemplated the wickedness of the human heart. He was confident that God would one day judge Saul, Doeg, and all who follow their evil philosophy of life.
 
3. The Faithful Are Serving (vv. 8-9). The contrast is clear: The wicked are like uprooted trees, but the godly are like flourishing olive trees that are fruitful and beautiful. Saul and Doeg would perish, rejected by the Lord, but David and his dynasty would be safe in the house of the Lord!
 
When David wrote this psalm, he was angry, and rightly so. (For the reason, see 1 Sam. 21:1-9; 22:6-23.) Doeg was one of many men around Saul who catered to his whims and inflated his ego in order to gain power and wealth. He typifies all who promote themselves at the expense of truth and justice. (Cough, cough, election ads)
 
The battle between the flesh and the Spirit still goes on. However, it’s possible that David was also writing about Saul, who certainly fits the description given of the proud, powerful tyrant. There has always been a certain amount of evil in high places, and God’s people must learn to handle it in a godly manner.
 
Psalm 52 praise you foreverThe psalm ends with David vowing to praise the Lord in the congregation as soon as God established him in his kingdom. The private victories God gives us should be announced publicly for the encouragement of God’s people. Meanwhile, though evil may seem to triumph, we must continue to obey and serve the Lord and not get discouraged. The “last laugh” belongs to the Lord’s people.
 
Psalm 52 22 cast your caresHEART CHECK:
 
Gossip, lies and put downs happen in and out of God’s church. Humans lean on gossip as a way to gain self power. “I know something you don’t know” and “I will use it to get what I think I need and want.” Yikes. Gossip kills. It splits the Body of Christ in many broken pieces. Gossip is not under God’s plan and best for us. Gossip is the opposite of Truth. Gossip is the opposite of God’s Word. Here are but a few of the “one another” scriptures:
 
“…encourage one another and build each other up…” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
“…Be at peace with each other.” (Mark 9:50)
“…Wash one another’s feet.” (John 13:14)
“…Love one another…” (John 13:34)
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love” (Romans 12:10)
“…Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)
“Live in harmony with one another…” (Romans 12:16)
“…Stop passing judgment on one another.” (Romans 14:13)
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you…” (Romans 15:7)
“…Have equal concern for each other.” (I Corinthians 12:25)
“…Serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13)
“If you keep on biting and devouring each other…you will be destroyed by each other.”
(Galatians 5:15)
“Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” (Galatians 5:26)
“Carry each other’s burdens…” (Galatians 6:2)
“…Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2)
“Be kind and compassionate to one another…” (Ephesians 4:32)
“…Forgiving each other…” (Ephesians 4:32)
“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.” (Ephesians 5:19)
“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21)
“…In humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)
“Do not lie to each other…” (Colossians 3:9)
Psalm 52 5
“Bear with each other…” (Colossians 3:13)
“…Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.” (Colossians 3:13)
“Teach…[one another]” (Colossians 3:16)
“…Admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)
“…Make your love increase and overflow for each other.” (I Thessalonians 3:12)
“Encourage one another daily…” Hebrews 3:13)
“…Spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)
“…Do not slander one another.” (James 4:11)
“Don’t grumble against each other…” (James 5:9)
“Confess your sins to each other…” (James 5:16)
“…Pray for each other.” (James 5:16)
“…Love one another deeply, from the heart.” (I Peter 3:8)
“…Live in harmony with one another…” (I Peter 3:8)
“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (I Peter 4:9)
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others…” (I Peter 4:10)
“…Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another…”(I Peter 5:5)
 
God’s Word proves the list is inexhaustible! So Friends, go, build someone up today! AND guess what will happen….When we are living UNDER GOD, He will bring a person to our minds who needs encouragement. Don’t delay! God uses us to encourage each other so that His glory is seen in us. Look up. Live like Jesus taught us to live.
 
Psalm 52 under GodDear Heavenly Father,
From a honest prayer-psalm from David, you took our hearts to a place of humble realization that we live and behave under Your authority and care. Thank you, God for reminding us to build each other with tangible ways to do that instead of gossiping. Thank you for numerous opportunities to serve each other with the gifts of the Holy Spirit you have given to us. You have lifted my spirit by flooding my soul with Your Holy Spirit. Continue to help us think more like you and a lot less like the world. Thank you, Lord.
In Jesus Name, Amen
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NO EXCUSES

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
Psalm 51 blot out
We can hide our sin from family and friends for awhile. Or we think we can. We can compare our sin to others and think our sin is not too bad. We can put our sin in the back of minds and try to forget about it. We think we are so good with hiding that we eventually deny that we sin. Our sin, unconfessed, then quietly births babies over the course of time that compound our sin with names called lie, cheat, steal, gossip, hate, anger, murder and sarcasm for life. It’s not a pretty sight. It’s not peace. It’s not what God had in mind for His creation.
 
David, “the apple of God’s eye”, “a man after the heart of God” sinned. He tried to deny it, hide it, and cover it up with more sin. God finally stepped in and told the prophet Nathan to confront David, the chosen king. It took a lot of courage for Nathan to confront the king whom he loved and served, but it was necessary and right.
 
Before we read David’s prayer of confession (Psalm 51), let’s review part of the story that led to this honest, repentant confession of David to His Lord, God.
 
SOMETHING TO KNOW…
2 Samuel 12: (NIV)
 
“The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, 3 but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
 
4 “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”
 
5 David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! 6 He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”
 
7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!
This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. 9 Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’
 
11 “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight.
 
12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”
 
Psalm 51 contrite13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
 
There is MUCH more to the story and I encourage you to read from beginning to end so you, (like myself), can get the full flavor of the seriousness of unconfessed sin between our Lord and us.
 
David realized that all he had done and tried to hide was sin…FIRST against the Lord, God he said he loved. His love for God was put aside for what his flesh wanted. “I have sinned against the Lord.” God made David clean up his mess after the confession. David responds with humble repentance in our next prayer psalm and longs for his relationship with God to be restored.
 
Psalm 51, The Message
A David Psalm, After He Was Confronted by Nathan About the Affair with Bathsheba
 
Psalm 51 mercy1-3 Generous in love—God, give grace!
Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I’ve been;
my sins are staring me down.
 
4-6 You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen
it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you;
whatever you decide about me is fair.
I’ve been out of step with you for a long time,
in the wrong since before I was born.
What you’re after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.
 
Psalm 51 renew7-15 Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
I’ll let loose with your praise.
 
Psalm 51 create in me16-17 Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.
 
18-19 Make Zion the place you delight in,
repair Jerusalem’s broken-down walls.
Then you’ll get real worship from us,
acts of worship small and large,
Including all the bulls
they can heave onto your altar!
 
HEART CHECK:
 
When David hears Nathan show him the extent of his sin in story form, he immediately responds with, “I have sinned against the Lord.” His prayer of confession includes the same, “You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen it all, seen the full extent of my evil.” Yes, God knows. God knows it all, even before we choose to admit it.
 
We hurt others with our sin, but ultimately it is God and our relationship with Our Creator that is “violated”, made unpure and unholy.
 
What sin are you hiding that you think is not worth confessing? Ask for the Holy Spirit to enlighten you.
 
How we treat others in direct correlation to how we treat God! When we strike back at others, we are striking back at God. When we love some but hate others, God sees that hate in us.
 
When we sin, it is first against God and our relationship with Him.
 
Psalm 51 paid
BUT, we have a way out! God sent His beloved Only Son into the world to pull us out and save us from our own sin. God in His loving grace, full of mercy, gave us HIS plan for redemption upon confessing. “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NLT)
 
“Confession is good for the soul” say the philosophers. Confession leads to eternal life says God, our Father and the Creator of all Who knows all and is in all.
 
Don’t hold back. (Preaching to myself this morning.) Stop and confess it all. Make a clean break with God, Whom we have offended.
 
Dear Heavenly Father,
If there is anything offensive to You, God (and there probably is, for it is coming to mind), I confess. For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But you desire honesty from the womb,
teaching me wisdom even there.
7 Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Oh, give me back my joy again;
you have broken me—
now let me rejoice.
9 Don’t keep looking at my sins.
Remove the stain of my guilt.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit[d] from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
 
In Jesus Name, Amen
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A BANQUET OF PRAISE, SERIOUS HUMILITY

Psalms – Prayers of Honesty
 
Psalm 50 accept
Do we ask God what HE wants? Do we begin our day with this request? Do we ask this question only when we have exhausted all other avenues of self led behaviors and failed? Do we realize He will guide us? Do we know how much God loves the details of our lives? Details trip us up but God loves to untangle the details and set us going in the right direction once more. He is God and we are not.
 
Psalm 50 GodGod is judge. Only God. “The whole cosmos attests to the fairness of this court, that here GOD is judge.” God is not shy in His coming but will not go where he is not invited. The purpose of this “trial” was not to judge and condemn the sinners but to expose their sins and give them opportunity to repent and return to the Lord. Our Lord is the God of second chances.
 
God speaks in to the writer of this prayer-psalm with EXACTLY what He is looking for from His people. Look for what God wants…
 
Psalm 50, The Message
An Asaph Psalm
Psalm 50 11-3 The God of gods—it’s God!—speaks out, shouts, “Earth!”
welcomes the sun in the east,
farewells the disappearing sun in the west.
From the dazzle of Zion,
God blazes into view.
Our God makes his entrance,
he’s not shy in his coming.
Starbursts of fireworks precede him.
 
4-5 He summons heaven and earth as a jury,
he’s taking his people to court:
“Round up my saints who swore
on the Bible their loyalty to me.”
 
6 The whole cosmos attests to the fairness of this court,
that here God is judge.
 
Psalm 50 107-15 “Are you listening, dear people? I’m getting ready to speak;
Israel, I’m about ready to bring you to trial.
This is God, your God,
speaking to you.
I don’t find fault with your acts of worship,
the frequent burnt sacrifices you offer.
But why should I want your blue-ribbon bull,
or more and more goats from your herds?
Every creature in the forest is mine,
the wild animals on all the mountains.
I know every mountain bird by name;
the scampering field mice are my friends.
If I get hungry, do you think I’d tell you?
All creation and its bounty are mine.
Do you think I feast on venison?
or drink draughts of goats’ blood?
Psalm 50 15Spread for me a banquet of praise,
serve High God a feast of kept promises,
And call for help when you’re in trouble—
I’ll help you, and you’ll honor me.”
 
16-21 Next, God calls up the wicked:
 
“What are you up to, quoting my laws,
talking like we are good friends?
You never answer the door when I call;
you treat my words like garbage.
If you find a thief, you make him your buddy;
adulterers are your friends of choice.
Your mouth drools filth;
lying is a serious art form with you.
You stab your own brother in the back,
rip off your little sister.
I kept a quiet patience while you did these things;
you thought I went along with your game.
I’m calling you on the carpet, now,
laying your wickedness out in plain sight.
 
PSalm 50 thanksgiving22-23 “Time’s up for playing fast and
loose with me.
I’m ready to pass sentence,
and there’s no help in sight!
It’s the praising life that honors me.
As soon as you set your foot on the Way,
I’ll show you my salvation.”
 
SOMETHING TO KNOW…
Here is a bit of history from the study and findings of Warren Wiersbe:
 
Every seventh year, during the Feast of Tabernacles, the priests were obligated to read the law to the people and explain its meaning (Deut. 31:9-18; Neh. 8), and this psalm may have been written for such an occasion. The emphasis is on the consistent godly living that should result from true spiritual worship.
 
Asaph was one of David’s worship leaders. A group of eleven psalms attributed to Asaph is found in 73–83. God the Judge summons the court (vv. 1-6) and confronts two offenders: the formalist, to whom worship is a ritual to follow (vv. 7-15), and the hypocrite, to whom worship is a disguise to cover sin (vv. 16-21). The psalm closes with a call to all worshipers to be faithful to God (vv. 22-23).
 
HEART CHECK:
 
Since Cain and Abel, humans bring to God what they think God wants but rarely deliver what God desires of us. God desires honesty and humility. He wants us to want Him. He wants us to long for Him. He wants us to love Him completely. God sees every heart. God seeks hearts that are completely His. He created every heart. He knows when we are praising Him only from a sense of duty, pride, ritual or worse yet, from a place of showy hypocrisy.
 
Again, what He really wants, like what most parents want from their children, is true love and devotion to Him. He wants us to want to be with Him!
 
God says to His people, “Why should I want your blue ribbon bull, or more goats from your herds? Every creature in the forest is mine.” God created all. Everything we think we possess is God’s first.
 
Then God says, “Spread for me a banquet of praise, serve High God a feast of KEPT promises…” Ouch…
 
What promises have you made to God? Have you kept your promises to our Mighty God, Our Creator of all?
 
Love God like you promised you would love Him. Do what you said you would do for him because of your love for Him. When God calls, answer! Don’t delete that call from “recent calls” but answer, put Him on speaker phone if you have to so you can hear every word!!
 
Psalm 50 I AMGod goes on to say, “…And call for help when you’re in trouble–I’ll help you, and you’ll honor me.”
 
Is God your last resort or your first source of help?
 
When we turn to God for help, we acknowledge that we don’t know what tomorrow holds much less the next ten minutes. We acknowledge to the God who knows everything that we really don’t know much of anything at all except that He is God and we are not. This is a form of praise! This is honest humility.
 
Are you ready to let go of what you think you know for all that God knows and is willing to help you know?
 
What does God require of us?
Let’s revisit Micah 6:8:
 
“O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
 
Psalm 50 God callsDear Heavenly Father and Lord of our lives,
We spread out a banquet of praise this morning by serving you humble hearts, minds that seek only You, and souls that long for Your Holy Presence. We need You every hour. Every hour we need You. Accept our praise from our hearts to Yours. I love you, Lord with all my heart, mind and soul.
In Jesus Name, Amen.
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